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Introducing OPAL Card

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boronia » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:42 pm

boronia wrote:I have emailed Opal, will see what answer I get. LOL

and Opal says:
Thank you for contacting Opal Customer Care.

The Opal One Day Travel Pass is a new Opal ticket that is valid for unlimited travel on a given day from first tap on until 4am the next day. The pass will be available to selected government agencies as part of a trial program in September 2017.

The Opal One Day Travel Pass is not available directly to the public. It will be available to pre-approved government agencies and organisations to give to their eligible clients.

The Opal One Day Travel Pass was developed in response to requests from a range of government agencies that required a more convenient way to provide travel assistance to people in their care including ?at risk? or vulnerable clients. The Opal One Day Travel Pass is expected to be also available to charities, schools and tour operators in late 2017.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:34 pm

For those that like statistics, heres something a bit interesting

Not too long ago I wrote to Andrew Constance (and after a while, finally got a reply, thx Andy) enquiring about the Opal Fare Structure and delivering some feedback.

$65 million worth of Transfer Discounts have been taken over the course of the past year, how long its been since the new Opal Fares came into effect. That compares with $300 million worth of free Opal travel in 2015-2016 (the only full calendar year it was available across the entire network), so it looks like this is indeed a much more sustainable system. I dont have any statistics on how much half price-fare travel has been taken though - but I reckon those that previously gamed it probably take much less trips a week, while in addition, half price travel is not as big of an incentive as free travel.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby crimsontide » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:50 am

Now available at Opal retailers only, a $35 top up option aimed at those doing same day return Airport trips.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby boronia » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:29 am

I noticed a group of tourists passing through the gates at Central the other day. They were tapping with what appeared to be about postcard size Opal "cards"; would these have been some decorative tourist brochure with a card stuck to it?
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby captainch » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:04 pm

vetrans who live interstate can apply to D.V.A & if going to sydney for medical treatment can get a free opal card!. had a heart attack nearlly the other day received my car rego which was free in nsw but were I LIVE NOW COST ME $1.110 TO REGISTER also unlike NSW your lience is not free things are diferent in most states! you have to apply a week in advance for your opal card which is stuck to a post card!
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby matthewg » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:02 pm

Jurassic_Joke wrote:$65 million worth of Transfer Discounts have been taken over the course of the past year, how long its been since the new Opal Fares came into effect. That compares with $300 million worth of free Opal travel in 2015-2016 (the only full calendar year it was available across the entire network), so it looks like this is indeed a much more sustainable system. I dont have any statistics on how much half price-fare travel has been taken though - but I reckon those that previously gamed it probably take much less trips a week, while in addition, half price travel is not as big of an incentive as free travel.


I'd love to know the justification for NOT increasing the transfer discount inline with the other fare increases. Less than a year into this version of the system, the value of the discount is already being eroded.

I was too lazy to write a letter to the minister's office at the time, mostly because I expected some sort of nonsical spin in reply.


My guess is the transfer rebate will continue to get eroded over time, taking the system back to treasuries preferred options of slugging everyone a flag-fall for every trip. We can only dream of a system that allows transfers between modes with out penality.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:49 pm

Make a submission to IPART next time the fares are reviewed.

I don't have a problem with having to pay 12c or whatever when connecting onto a Bus1 trip. It's the longer bus trips where the current system fails.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Frosty » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:30 pm

I don’t see a fully intergrated system anytime soon. Considering the operating costs differences between each mode it would have to mean drastically increase bus & train fares to subsidise the ferries. It wouldn’t be fair to people in Western Syd with Buses & Trains to subsidise people who are better off in the east & north shore with their ferries.

But a possible fully integrated fare system could work by having a zonal based system.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Fleet Lists » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:38 pm

Heaven forbid = a zonal system would be an absolute disaster as has been discussed many times before. Distance based is much more logical.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Frosty » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:52 pm

You know what this reminds me of some union idea to charge people based on like socio-economic status. https://www.railexpress.com.au/rtbu-cal ... side-down/ That would be awfully similar to zonal system.

Though distance fare seems the best for Sydney. I must wonder are train fares still calculated using track distance or straight line distance ?
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:59 pm

Still track distance, including the city supplement, I believe. IPART had proposed actual distance.

Agree that true distance or equivalent is much fairer than zonal - zonal was an attempt to introduce distance systems before smartcards.

And given in general 'rich' people live near ferries, there is some form of income discrimination embedded in the charging method (albeit it more reflects costs)
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:56 am

matthewg wrote:I'd love to know the justification for NOT increasing the transfer discount inline with the other fare increases. Less than a year into this version of the system, the value of the discount is already being eroded.

I was too lazy to write a letter to the minister's office at the time, mostly because I expected some sort of nonsical spin in reply.


My guess is the transfer rebate will continue to get eroded over time, taking the system back to treasuries preferred options of slugging everyone a flag-fall for every trip. We can only dream of a system that allows transfers between modes with out penality.


It was already eroded when it was announced what was going to be introduced, back in May. IPART said the transfer discount should be set at the lowest possible fare, which was in their proposal, $2 = lowest off peak train fare. So a transfer to a train WOULD have been free, if off peak, and you travelled under 10km. THAT sounds like a good deal - only a year later, for the same criteria, you pay 41c. Snort. And don't even get me started on peak hour.

I agree with Simon, the transfer discount is also horrendous for bus trips. It starts out at 12c for a short 3km trip, which is really short (eg, just for fun, North Sydney Station -> Town Hall Station on M20 is actually already over 3km), but then a 4km trip will blow that all the way out to $1.79. Or, you could take the train to Wynyard, L90 to Palm Beach and for travelling 44km, all you'll pay is $2.60, whereas someone, Central -> Leichardt will pay $1.79. It's broken and hideously unbalanced.

Thats the problem with IPART reports and recommendations. Because the Government will just choose and pick the bits that they like, leaving out others, even if those others were crucial to working with other things. I forgot IPART's report by now, but I would be quite annoyed if they said in there the transfer discount SHOULD increase in line with other fare increases - and quietly, they just (deliberately) ignored that.

I wonder if Andrew even read the rest of the report. Or was it just essentially, he saw what he wanted (Free Trips after 8 = bye!!!), according to a news reporter, he always wanted to see the end of that for a while coming, and then thats it. Oh and yea why not, lets also throw in what the news was talking about (transfer discount) just to offset some of the sting. Remember - nothing else was changed in September 2016, when a lot could have. Bus fare bands, Sunday Cap, more. Something a bit suspect/rushed here.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby matthewg » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:21 am

Fleet Lists wrote:Heaven forbid = a zonal system would be an absolute disaster as has been discussed many times before. Distance based is much more logical.


Distance fares with no flag fall. The system can just charge a different per/km rate per mode. Ferries can then be a high rate to cover their operating costs better and the trains the lowest.

I believe this is what Singapore does now. A multimodal journey is multiple trips joined together end to end, with each mode being charged at its own per km/rate.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:59 am

I think the government wanted some form of intermodal transfers.
The discounts were funded by the removal of 8 then free.

I've got no issue with people being charged more for a lengthy second trip, it reflects costs just with the flag fall ($2) rebated - indeed this was one of my issues with the original IPART proposal (eg. A Manly ferry passenger could jump on a train to Newcastle for no extra cost)
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:10 am

Actually, the biggest problems with our fare system which remain are the ones introduced in MyZone, 7 years ago IIRC. Collapsing the 8-15km, 15-25km and 25km+ into an 8+km bus band was ridiculous and should never have been done. It will be very difficult politically to undo that change. IPART recommended bringing back the 8-15km band but that wasn't accepted.

I don't mind the idea that there's a flag fall. If you catch a bus between two bus stops, paying through the nose is fair to me because you've inconvenienced everyone on the bus and society as a whole.

Re: zonal. That is ok in cities with one CBD but pretty unsuitable for Sydney.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:45 am

I don't think many people would voluntarily take a 15+ km bus.

The substantial demand for this I suspect is from people who don't have the option of rail for the lengthy part (ie. North-West which will be fixed soon, and Northern Beaches).
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:21 am

Well don't live in those locations. No reason to subsidise such lifestyle choices.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Aurora » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:40 am

boronia wrote:I put this question in the B-line thread but didn't get a response yet.

What is the "Opal Day Pass" that can't be used for parking? I can't recall seeing this mentioned before.

Nothing much to see here. It is a pass available for vulnerable people issued by authorised associations.

EDIT: As above.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby moa999 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:44 pm

simonl wrote:Well don't live in those locations. No reason to subsidise such lifestyle choices.


But is their much subsidy??

The bulk of the Northern Beaches is served by the more efficient (in labour, seat cost and fuel) bendys and soon to be DDs.
These are undoubtedly more cost efficient than most suburban buses, particularly given they are packed in the peaks.

Compared to rail, While the labour (variable) cost of buses is higher the infrastructure cost is much lower (someone else funds the road/track)

Having these buses has enabled the overall government (not just transport) to save a huge amount in deferring road improvements on this corridor.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:12 pm

iPhone users -

In iOS11, I just discovered they actually opened up the NFC Chip on iPhone 7, iPhone 8 (and their Plus counterparts) and the upcoming iPhone X to read NFC tags.

https://www.nfcworld.com/2017/09/12/354 ... september/

Apple has revealed that it will ship iOS 11 on 19 September 2017, bringing with it the ability for iPhones to read NFC tags for the first time.

The capability will be available to owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as well as the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Touch ID for Apple Pay transactions will continue to be supported on the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the specifications show.

NFC tag writing is not, however, expected to be supported.


Hmmm. I think its high-time TfNSW updated the Opal Travel App so its now has the exact same functionality as the Android App (instant scan card for balance, transaction history and tap-on status), if its really possible now (I don't see why not?).

Only funny thing I don't get is iPhone 6/6s have been excluded from this new feature despite having an NFC chip, but I won't speculate why as to not go off topic

I shall write to TfNSW promptly,
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:26 pm

moa999 wrote:But is their much subsidy??

Yes.

The relevance of the question is...
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby BeauGiles » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:08 pm

Jurassic_Joke wrote:iPhone users -

In iOS11, I just discovered they actually opened up the NFC Chip on iPhone 7, iPhone 8 (and their Plus counterparts) and the upcoming iPhone X to read NFC tags.

https://www.nfcworld.com/2017/09/12/354 ... september/

Apple has revealed that it will ship iOS 11 on 19 September 2017, bringing with it the ability for iPhones to read NFC tags for the first time.

The capability will be available to owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as well as the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Touch ID for Apple Pay transactions will continue to be supported on the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the specifications show.

NFC tag writing is not, however, expected to be supported.


Hmmm. I think its high-time TfNSW updated the Opal Travel App so its now has the exact same functionality as the Android App (instant scan card for balance, transaction history and tap-on status), if its really possible now (I don't see why not?).

Only funny thing I don't get is iPhone 6/6s have been excluded from this new feature despite having an NFC chip, but I won't speculate why as to not go off topic

I shall write to TfNSW promptly,


Won’t work with the Opal card unfortunately - the APIs Apple have exposed only support NFC tags that follow the NDEF specification/standards. The Opal card doesn’t (nor do contactless credit cards, nor Android phones when sharing something over NFC).

The new CoreNFC APIs won’t be any good in this case.

(FWIW the 6/6s have different NFC chips and antenna configurations that were never designed to also ‘power’ and read an NFC tag, hence no support by Apple with CoreNFC)
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:28 pm

Ahh alright I see, thanks for clearing that up, the technical terminology wasn't too clear. That sucks then. What a missed opportunity. Although thats an issue with Apple responsibility then, not TfNSW

Guess we can possibly wait for next year (but knowing Apple, nope) ;) At least its something. I do have a 7+ though, looking forward to seeing what else I can do with NFC sometime soon!

In the meantime, yeah, I've used my sister's Android to instantly read my card when I'm with her sometimes and it is indeed heaps useful - always nice getting a peace of mind you have indeed tapped on from a gateless station
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby simonl » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:29 am

Well it would have been a bigger missed opportunity to cater to Apple Pay but not to contactless credit cards.
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Re: Introducing OPAL Card

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:27 pm

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/1 ... -12-months

LOL. Ever since encouraging everyone to beat the system, she's finally come out to speak on Opal but them free trips were nowhere to be heard.

Instead, the same woman that said when she set up the initial Opal System, "We believe customers should pay for the mode they are using" when justifying having the intermodal transfer penalty, is now praising the transfer discount her successor set up as the best thing ever. She's such a liar and an opportunist it's cringeworthy at this point. She'll say anything to stay in power.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/opal-smartcar ... 2ufpj.html
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